The Origin Story
This has to be one of my most favorite Fertility Success Stories to date! It’s not because it’s one of my most rewarding success stories that I have had the honor to write about or even the fact that this story was one that I almost went under the radar, nope, it’s more than that. Heather’s story was one of the main reasons I started my own company with a soul focus to help women optimize their fertility! Yupp – pretty powerful. Let me give you some background information…
Over My Head?
Before I started my own company, I was the Lead Dietitian at The Moday Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. It was an incredible job that I loved very much! Heather came to us wanting to optimize her health. She knew that she wanted to have a baby but was struggling with multiple miscarriages and failed fertility treatments. She knew that in order to optimize her fertility she had to first commit to healing herself and no matter what the outcome was for her fertility she would be a healthier, happier person because of the changes she was embarking on. Seriously, amazing attitude!!
I remember reviewing her case and thinking through how I could apply the key pillars of functional nutrition to get her feeling her best and, possibly, pregnant. But was I in over my head? I was 100% sure that I could get her feeling happier and healthier, but I wasn’t sure it I would be able to support Heather with her fertility. This was way before I embarked on my own quest of Functional Fertility and I was struggling hard with imposter syndrome at this point in my career.
Plus, this was before I knew that diet and lifestyle changes 100% impact a woman’s egg quality, fertility, and pregnancy outcomes. I just never had the education or experience here. How could I help someone as sweet and lovely as Heather have the baby her and her husband were so desperately trying for?
It can be extremely exhausting to be at the tail of of a struggle with infertility… but instead of being at the mercy of a traditional fertility route, a “Functional” path gave me some kind of control over my own fertility journey. And if it didn’t work, I didn’t want to have any questions about what I could have done or should have done differently.
A Seed Was Planted
It took some weeks of working with Heather along with getting key laboratory tests back before I had my epiphany. I realized that I didn’t have to be a trained expert in one, narrow and specialized outcome (fertility) to actually help women get pregnant. The same Functional Nutrition education that I had spent years plus thousands of dollars and hours in building, was the same approach that Heather could benefit from. I had all of the knowledge to help her – I just had to apply it in the same way I was already helping people for years heal their GI issues, overcome autoimmune disease, and live a more fulfilled and healthier life.
Even though I didn’t yet know that:
- CoQ10, melatonin, zinc, and NAC are all powerful antioxidants to support egg quality
- Reoccurring miscarriages are a sign of low progesterone
- Calming the HPA-axis can help to switch the body from “this is no place for a baby” to “welcome, baby!” mode
- or that low levels of Vitamin D can decrease fertility…
I knew that I was onto something!
By working through the same key areas that functional nutrition is so established in: gut healing, immune support, HPA-axis regulation, and targeted nutrient supplementation, I could help Heather just like I hundreds of other people with varying health goals that had come before her. Once I overcame my imposter syndrome and took solace in the science of functional nutrition once again, I saw the connection between optimizing fertility and my current education in functional nutrition.
The “Conception” Of a Baby and a Business
After working with Heather for about six months, we set off on different directions. She finished the program and “graduated” from the center. She came out feeling a better sense of overall health, corrected multiple nutrient deficiencies, and completely rewired her adrenal system! I love in the video when she talks about how people visibly noticed that she had more energy. We all called it a win but then months down the road I got an email from Heather with the news… she was naturally pregnant at the age of 45!
Funny enough I already taken the career steps to leave my current position and begin Let’s Get Real, RD with a sole mission to help women achieve optimal fertility and get pregnant! Heather’s email was like a gift from the Gods – a reassuring, lovely, beautiful gift. I was onto something!
Heather’s story is an amazing testament to what Functional Fertility is all about. She came in with an open attitude that no matter the outcome, baby or no baby, she would walk out the other end a success because she would have improved her health for years to come. I truly believe that no matter the specifics of the work we did together during those months together, that she set herself up for success by starting off on this note. Of course there is always pressure to get pregnant when you are in a situation like hers, from others and from yourself. However, by accepting that this was going to help her health in more ways than just trying to get pregnant, Heather took a lot of that pressure off of herself from day one.
Of course, this is a concept that I am incredibly familiar with now as I help women everyday optimize their fertility to finally get that positive pregnancy test after months of trying, increase the chances of a successful fertility treatment, or put an end to recurring miscarriages. However, when I was working with Heather these ideas were still in their infancy. It wouldn’t be until a year later that I created my Three Pillar Approach to Functional Fertility. Now looking back I see that optimizing Heather’s gut health and nourishing her adrenals was paramount in allowing her body to switch from “this is not place for a baby” mode to “welcome, baby!” mode.
My sincere thank you to Heather for being my inspiration to take the leap and begin helping hundreds of women just like her with Functional Fertility. Sometimes, we have all the right tools right under our nose, just need that one person to show us that those tools can make a difference.
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